Biz Watch


Will Schröder's Christmas story have a happy ending?

Santa's Mixed Bag of Reforms
When Gerhard Schröder's government reached agreement with the opposition Christian Democrats on a package of long-awaited economic reforms in mid-December, you might have expected German businesses to leap with Christmas joy. But despite lowered nonwage costs for employers, they're not all happy. Why?

To help pay for a €7.8 billion tax cut, the compromise reduced federal subsidies to new home buyers (by 30%) and commuters who drive to work. "Business will go down, but we're not sure by how much," said Mario Wanke, who owns a home-construction company in Neubrandenburg ....

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